Archive for ‘Around the Web’

Obi-Wan Honors Bomb Expert in Basra Team | October 9, 2007

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor arrived in Basra, southern Iraq, to present a Pride of Britain award — given by the Record’s sister paper, the Mirror –to Staff Sergeant Michelle Cunningham. Despite the risks, Ewan was so impressed by the bravery of Britain’s only female bomb disposal officer in Iraq that he was determined to present the award to her himself.

Michelle, 32, was nominated for the Mirror award by the Army for “displaying complete disregard for her personal safety” by single-handedly extinguishing a fire at an explosives factory in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, last year. Firefighters had decided it was too dangerous to go inside.

Ewan, 36, said: “I’m just so amazed by Michelle and her unit’s courage. “She’s fantastic. I would never have the guts to do what she does. Most people, and I’m one of them, would run a million miles from a bomb. But Michelle actually walks towards them and makes them safe. Amazing.”

Read the full story here:
Ewan McGregor Joins The Troops In Basra

X-wing Rocket Launches… Sort of

| October 7, 2007


As previously reported here, a nearly life-size X-wing model was scheduled to launch somewhere in California this week – actually, that launch has already occurred, with some rather unfortunate results.

Admittedly, the launch was pretty spectacular, if only short-lived. You got to hand it to the creators for almost pulling it off. Check out the video here.

Here’s the same scene captured from a different angle courtesy of Eyespot’s Kevin Baird.

New Drug Side Effect: WookieeVision

Bonnie Burton | October 5, 2007

The next time you start using a new antifungal treatment (not that we’re saying you ever will) you might end up seeing Wookiees as a side effect.

According to a report on CNBC, some recent scientific research unveiled — at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting — an interesting effect of the new Pfizer drug called Vfend. The study showed that 12% of the people who take Vfend start seeing things — specifically Wookiees.

Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder had this to say about the report:

“Included in the reported visions was at least one sighting of a Wookiee (presumably Chewbacca). We make the following observations: What is wrong with seeing Wookiees? We are making no changes to our 2007 $700 million sales forecast for Vfend, and continue to believe that sales for the drug can grow at a 10% clip over the next few years. We do not see future FDA action in terms of a black-box Wookiee warning or an FDA Wookiee panel.”

Read the full article here:
Star Wars: Chewbacca’s Revenge on Pfizer


Jedi Rank on Needlessly-Detailed Wikipedia Entries List Team | October 1, 2007

Humor magazine Cracked lists “The 8 Most Needlessly Detailed Wikipedia Entries,” and shockingly (or not) we come in at #8 with List of Ancient Jedi. We’re in weird company. Also making the list: “7th Heaven” Episodes, Tennis Performance Timeline Comparison (Women), Line of Succession to the British Throne, Universe of the Metroid Video Game, Jason Mewes, List of City Nicknames in the United States, and List of Unicode Characters.

Wired Profiles “Robot Chicken” Team | September 27, 2007

Get a behind-the-scenes look at “Robot Chicken” with a special report from the Oct. 2007 issue of Wired magazine. Co-creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, as well as the producers Corey Campodonico and Alex Bulkley of ShadowMachine Films, talk about the success of “Robot Chicken” — including their most recent Star Wars special.


Since its debut in 2005, Chicken has helped the cable channel set ratings records and has enjoyed brisk DVD sales. When the Palpatine snippet found its way onto YouTube last year, it generated more than a million views, creating a flock of new fans — and eventually hatching a 30-minute Robot Chicken: Star Wars TV special.

With some 30 projects in development, Shadow Machine has expanded from a two-man operation to a staff of around 80. Green and Senreich’s production company, Stoopid Monkey, recently inked a two-picture deal with heavy hitters Harvey and Bob Weinstein, and ShadowMachine has signed on to handle production. “There’s a glut of CG right now, and they’re unique in the market place,” says Matthew Stein, senior VP of production at the Weinsteins’ Dimension Films, who developed the deal. “Who’s to say there’s not an opportunity for stop-motion on the big screen?”

Just ask George Lucas, who was so tickled after seeing the Palpatine sketch that he gave Robot Chicken rare carte blanche to craft a half-hour Star Wars parody. He even voiced his own plaid-shirted Mini-Me for one skit and hosted a screening of the special at Skywalker Ranch. “George got really complimentary,” Green recalls. “I leaned in and said, ‘I want to do two sequels and three prequels — if you’re cool with it.’” And why not? As Lucas himself might put it: Today Coruscant. Tomorrow, the world.

Read the full interview here:
Fowl Play: Adult Swim’s Low-Budget, High-Geek, Stop-Mo Hit “Robot Chicken”

Also be sure to read our exclusive interviews with the “Robot Chicken” team on

20 Things Star Wars Fans Have to Look Forward To Team | September 24, 2007

3-yoda recently posted a list of 20 things Star Wars fans have to look forward to in the future, including the CG animated Clone Wars series, the live-action TV series, The Force Unleashed video game, Fanboys, Hasbro’s Star Wars Mighty Muggs, and a whole bunch more to keep your Force-sense tingling. Head on over to to check it out.

Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi?

| September 20, 2007

While some fans are still pondering what Return of the Jedi could have been with cult-favorite director David Lynch calling the shots instead of George Lucas, it seems another left-of-the-dial director was also asked if he’d like to wrangle a few Ewoks.

According to MTV’s Movies Blog, David Cronenberg — director of such surreal films as Naked Lunch, The Fly and eXistenZ — was asked by Lucas if he’d like to direct a new movie he was writing called Revenge of the Jedi.

“I got a phone call. I was in my kitchen and it was one of the producers. He said, ‘What would you think of doing Star Wars?” Cronenberg explained. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t usually do other people’s material.’ And then there was a kind of click. I wasn’t enthusiastic enough obviously. I didn’t get a chance to think about whether it was a good idea or not. I blew it right away.”

Read the article and watch a video clip of Cronenberg chatting with MTV’s Kurt Loder here:
Cronenberg’s Aborted Job Offer: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Director’s Chair?

How do you think the movie would have been different with Cronenberg behind the lens?

Sound off in comments.

Send R2-D2 to the Moon?

Bonnie Burton | September 13, 2007

According to a recent post on Wired News:

Google will award $20 million to the first private team to put a robot on the moon, the company and the X Prize Foundation announced at Wired NextFest in Los Angeles Thursday. Members of the public will also get the chance to send digital mementos to the moon. In this advance from the October issue of Wired magazine, contributing editor Spencer Reiss explains what’s behind the Google Lunar X Prize, and what it will take to win it.

Read all about it here:
Google Sponsors Lunar X PRIZE to Create a Space Race for a New Generation

I’m looking at you R2 Builders! HINT HINT

Wired News,,

Good Thing We Don’t Have Two Suns

Bonnie Burton | September 12, 2007

(Tatooine’s twin suns)

According to The New York Times, astronomers are announcing that they have “discovered a planet that seems to have survived the puffing up of its home star, suggesting there is some hope that Earth could survive the aging and swelling of the Sun.”

The newly discovered planet is a gas giant at least three times as massive as Jupiter. It orbits about 150 million miles from a faint star in the constellation Pegasus known as V 391 Pegasi. But before that star blew up as a red giant sometime in the past and lost half its mass, the planet must have been about as far from its star as the Earth is to the Sun — about 90 million miles — the astronomers led by Roberto Silvotti of the Observatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, calculated.

Dr. Silvotti said that the results showed that a planet at the Earth’s distance “can survive” the red giant and he hoped the discovery would spur searches for more like it. “With some statistics and new detailed models we will be able to say something more even to the destiny of our Earth (which, as we all know, has much more urgent problems by the way),” he said in an e-mail message.

Read more about it here:
Earth Might Survive Sun’s Explosion
(NY Times registration required)

The New York Times

Pop Candy Digs Vader’s Lightsaber Team | September 5, 2007

USA Today’s Pop Candy blogger and one of our favorite Star Wars fans — Whitney Matheson — blogs about her favorite movie props. Along with David Bowie’s crystal ball in Labyrinth and Indiana Jones’ fedora, Darth Vader’s trusty lightsaber tops the list.

1. Darth Vader’s lightsaber, the Star Wars franchise.
Maybe I should’ve picked Luke’s saber, but let’s face it: Vader’s is red, it’s rebellious, and it’s way cooler. Of all props, to me, this might be tops.

Read the full list here on Pop Candy:
Talk back: What are the most awesome movie props?